Beechcraft D17E Staggerwing

Another Golden Age Classic

The most elegant and classic airplane ever built was the Beechcraft Model D-17E Staggerwing.A sleek,stagger-wing,five place biplane for fast luxurious private transportation and military liaison .The Beechcraft D-17 is an internationaly popular aircraft.

The Beech Aircraft Company was formally organized in April 1932, and in November of that same year, the first Beechcraft Model 17 Staggerwing made its maiden flight. The organizational skills and "know-how" of Walter Beech, combined with the genius of airplane designer Ted Wells had produced a ship that was destined to become the standard for private passenger carrying airplanes for years to come.

With its clean lines, negatively staggered wings, and retractable landing gear, the natural aesthetic beauty of the Staggerwing has made it an uncontested classic airplane. Even today the Beech Model 17 is comparable to modern private aircraft. Its ability to transport 5 persons at speeds from 170 to 200 mph and the airframe's capacity to accept a wide variety of different engines with horsepower ranging from 225 to 710 make this a truly versatile aircraft.


Powered by a Jacobs L-5 engine rated at 285 h.p.,this Beechcraft has a maximum speed of 195 m.p.h.,a cruising speed of 177 m.p.h.,and a range of 700 miles. Rate of climb 1200 ft./min.Service Ceiling 18000 ft.Manufactured by Beech Aircraft Corporation,Wichita, Kansas.


Wing span 32'.Length 25' 11.25". Height 8'.Weight empty 2080 lbs. Useful load 1270 lbs. Baggage 125 lbs. Fuel 77 gals. Oil 5 gals.


One of the most distinctive WW II USAAF aircraft was the UC-43 "Traveler," a light transport biplane with negative or backward staggered wings. Three examples of the popular Beech commercial Model 17 "Staggerwing" aircraft, delivered in June 1939 for army evaluation, were designated YC43s. These were assigned to the U.S. air attaches at the American Embassies in London, Paris, and Rome in 1939 and were operated by U.S. Army Air Corps personnel.

Early in WW II, the need for a compact executive-type transport or courier aircraft became apparent and in 1942 the Army ordered the first of 270 Model 17s for service in this country and overseas as UC-43s. These differed only in minor details from the commercial model. To meet urgent wartime needs, the government also purchased or leased additional "Staggerwings" from private owners including 118 more for the USAAF plus others for the Navy.

Span: 32 ft.
Length: 26 ft. 1 1/2 in.
Height: 8 ft.
Weight: 4,250 lbs. maximum
Armament: None
Engine: Pratt & Whitney R-985 of 450 hp.
Cost: $19,000

Maximum speed: 212 mph.
Cruising speed: 202 mph.
Range: 785 miles
Service Ceiling: 20,000 ft.

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Written & Edited by Darrell Graves


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